WVU ATHLETICS: Youngstown State will get $500,000 to play Mountaineers
MORGANTOWN, W.Va — Fans might have a million reasons to be disgruntled about West Virginia playing a 2016 home game against a Football Championship Subdivision team. Youngstown State has half as many reasons to ignore the complaints.
The once-dominant FCS program will receive $500,000 for being WVU’s guest for the Sept. 10, 2016 game at Mountaineer Field. It’s more than the Mountaineers are used to paying FCS opponents, but less than what Youngstown State has recently earned.
A game contract entered into Feb. 19, signed by Youngstown State on May 14 and then by WVU on June 3 considers that fee to be the “sole financial compensation.” The Mountaineers will owe the Penguins nothing beyond that for travel, accommodations or incentives like ticket sales, the last being rare in contracts with FCS opponents.
WVU, which plays host to FCS runner-up Towson this season and Liberty in 2015, will have played host to an FCS team for nine straight seasons when it entertains Youngstown State.
The Mountaineers needed a late touchdown and interception to defeat the FCS’s William & Mary last season. They paid the Tribe $300,000 for that scare. Towson will receive the same this season.
The Penguins, though, typically earn more for traveling to a major conference stadium. They were paid $650,000 for last season’s 55-17 loss at Michigan State. They’ll earn $560,000 for this year’s game at Illinois. Two years ago, Youngstown State beat Pitt 31-17 and earned $400,000.
If either team backs out of the game prior to two years before the game, it owes the other team $300,000 for breaching the contract. The termination fee is $500,000 for canceling within a year of the game.
The Penguins, winners of four national titles under former coach Jim Tressel, who will become the university president next month, haven’t made the FCS playoffs since a semifinal run in 2006. They are 41-38 since then, but 15-8 the past two seasons.
Youngstown State does have a following, though, and that’s one appeal for neighboring Big Ten teams looking for games, much as it was for Pitt to schedule games in 2005, 2009 and 2012. The Penguins campus is about 150 miles from Morgantown.
The Penguins, who will be allowed to appoint a “solid crew” of officials from their Missouri Valley Conference, will also receive a healthy allotment of tickets. The contract grants 300 complimentary tickets and admission separate from that for cheerleaders and the mascot.
Seating for the Youngstown State band, if it chooses to attend, will come from an allotment of 3,000 tickets that can be sold to the fans. The Penguins can retain no more than 500 tickets two weeks prior to the game and may return no more than 100 tickets five days before kickoff.
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IN THE early part of last season, coach Dana Holgorsen would wait until two days before a game to name his starting quarterback on his Thursday night radio show. He picked his starter Tuesday, more than two months before the season opener against Alabama in the Georgia Dome.
Clint Trickett, apparently completely cleared to resume throwing and all other football activities, will be the No. 1 quarterback for the final three weeks of WVU’s summer workouts and then when preseason practice starts at the beginning of August.
“Clint is 100 percent healthy and is ready to play,” Holgorsen said in a press release. “He worked hard last season and showed a lot of ability and leadership and deserves the chance to lead the team as a senior. He will be our starter.”
Trickett had surgery in January to repair the labrum, AC joint and rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder, all lingering issues after his right arm was injured in his first start, which happened to be a win against then-No. 11 Oklahoma State. Trickett was 24-for-50 passes for 309 yards and a touchdown.
He was never healthy the rest of the season and later missed the loss at Kansas with a concussion. Trickett went 2-5 as WVU’s starter in his first season after transferring from Florida State, but closed the 4-8 season by completing 21 of 37 passes for a season-high 356 yards and two touchdowns against Iowa State.
Trickett will probably meet another former Seminoles quarterback in the Chik-fil-A Kickoff game. Jacob Coker, who like Trickett graduated from Florida State after three years and two seasons, transferred to Alabama in January and is widely expected to win the starting job.
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TARIK PHILLIP, a junior college all-American who signed with WVU basketball in April, was in court Monday to address one of two open cases.
Phillip, a 6-foot-3 guard with three seasons of eligibility remaining, was in Gaston County (N.C.) District Court to face a felony count of larceny from a person for allegedly stealing an iPhone.
A deputy clerk at the district court said Phillip waived his right to a public defender and had the case continued to July 31. A district attorney will soon decide whether to forward the case to a grand jury in superior court, the clerk said.
Phillip also has a court appearance scheduled for July 1 in Mecklenburg County (N.C.) for a misdemeanor charge of injury to personal property. He’s accused of doing about $100 in damage to a pair of display cases at a retailer.
Phillip previously faced a pair of related charges for failing to appear at separate court cases for the felony and misdemeanor cases. Setting the court dates for Monday and next month dropped the charges for failing to appear.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at email@example.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.